Forget affordability, reliability etc. SAFETY comes first.
On Thursday night, 2nd April 2015, I left The Juniper Kitchen to check out an event at Venom Lounge. I knew the organizers and one of the International DJ’s playing and promised to show up – and I am one of those who actually does keep her promises.
Showed up at around 2am. Danced a little. Caught up with people I haven’t seen in a while – but had enough as I got tired and was ready to go home.
So, I don’t drive – I know how to drive, but don’t own my own car, and even if I did, I wouldn’t really drive around much at night.
I have a deal with a cab company where they tally up my rides at the end of the month and I pay them off then. They note them down and so do I.
On Thursday, they were not available. They usually always respond, but that night they didn’t.
I have many times before just gotten into a random cab, negotiated and gotten home safely.
Get off the 9th floor of Victoria Plaza and head down to the parking area.
Get into the white Pro-Box. Before, starting the car I say what road we’re going on and ask for the charge. I usually pay Kshs. 500 to get home, this guy quoted Kshs. 1,500!
I’m Kenyan. Born and raised. I can speak a fair amount of Swahili to negotiate, bargain or to get me out of trouble (usually my friends anyway).
I was not gonna negotiate with this guy – so I say nope, that’s too expensive and open the door to get out.
The cab driver GRABBED my arm – Freaking TIGHT!
I yelled in Swahili “don’t touch me!”, got my arm out of his hand and ran back into the building.
My arm hurt for half an hour.
I sat on the steps, I wasn’t going back up to the party.
My cab guys still not responding.
So I called a friend – who came to my rescue and dropped me home.
I’ve used Uber before, when they had just launched and despite the glitches here and there, I always knew I was safe because I had all the details on my phone. Who was driving, what sort of a car and in the end, if anything happened, the company would be liable.
Get the apps on your phone, have a reliable general taxi guy and most importantly good, reliable friends.